Supreme Court Rejects Shell Appeal in Oklahoma Lawsuit

December 15, 2010

The U.S. Supreme Court is refusing to hear an appeal by Shell Oil Co. of a nearly $54 million dollar jury award in an Oklahoma lawsuit.

The court declined without comment to hear Shell’s appeal that the award for punitive damages to oil and gas leaseholders in Stephens County violated the company’s constitutional rights.

The leaseholders lawsuit accused Shell of failing to pay them profits they were due from the oil and gas taken from the land. A Stephens County jury in 2008 awarded the leaseholders $13.2 million in actual damages and interest and $53.6 million in punitive damages.

Shell’s appeal claimed the punitive award is unconstitutionally excessive.

A Shell spokesman told The Oklahoman that the company is disappointed and will “honor the judgment” against it.

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